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Christie allies launch super PAC ahead of expected 2024 run

<i>Brian Snyder/Reuters</i><br/>Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at the Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester
Brian Snyder/Reuters
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at the Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester

By Omar Jimenez, CNN

(CNN) — Allies of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have formed a super PAC to support an expected Republican presidential bid.

The outside group, Tell It Like It Is, has launched a website boosting Christie’s candidacy and encouraging his presence on the GOP debate stage, saying it would “ensure our party engages in the robust, direct, truth-telling conversation we need to start winning again.”

The website lists Republican National Committee member Bill Palatucci, former US Sen. Jeff Chiesa and former US Rep. Susan Brooks as members of the group’s leadership team.

According to a source tied to the newly formed super PAC, any eventual campaign is expected to include people Christie has worked with before, including Mike DuHaime, who has served as a top political strategist to the former governor, and Maria Comella, Christie’s chief messaging officer during his presidential bid.

Details of the super PAC were first reported by The New York Times.

The New Jersey Republican sees himself as the only serious GOP candidate willing to take on former President Donald Trump and someone who could appeal to enough independents to beat President Joe Biden in the general election, CNN has previously reported.

“He feels really good, he’s had very good feedback,” one source supportive of a potential Christie bid told CNN, adding, “He feels there’s a lane that’s dissatisfied with the way Donald Trump conducts himself.”

“I don’t know what would keep him from getting in this race,” the source added.

Over previous weeks, a source familiar with the conversations told CNN the governor had been “talking to stakeholders and people that matter to him” about whether to run for president.

“Whether that’s in New Hampshire or elsewhere, he’s been really focused on making the right choice here,” the source continued.

Others are already looking ahead, including former White House communications director and founder of SkyBridge Capital Anthony Scaramucci.

“If (Christie) announces, I will be there to support him,” Scaramucci told CNN.

Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Christie announced his candidacy on June 30, 2015, in front of supporters in Livingston, New Jersey. This time around, while Christie has not formally announced his candidacy for president, he has publicly explored the possibility of doing so.

At a late April town hall in New Hampshire, Christie told the crowd, “We have this really unusual situation of not having an incumbent, but having an incumbent,” speaking of Trump.

“He’s the best-known person in this race,” said Christie, but “one of the reasons I think he can’t come back is he failed us.”

“I’m not gonna stand around and let this happen,” Christie said. “If I decide to run, I’ll be able to try to do something directly about it.”

Bill Greiner, a New Hampshire businessman and Christie supporter, told CNN a key ingredient to victory against Trump is getting him on the debate stage.

“Everybody wants to knock that person (Trump) off, they want to be that person, (but) if you don’t have a debate, that’s not gonna happen,” Greiner continued.

Christie is one of several high-profile figures mulling a bid for the Republican ticket. Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and talk radio host Larry Elder have officially announced their candidacies.

While Christie called a potential presidential run a “huge risk” at an event hosted by Semafor in Washington last month, he said, “If it turns out that I’m on a debate stage in August of this year and Donald Trump decides to be on it, you can be sure that we’ll have some exchanges that I hope will be illuminating to the public about both him and me.”

This story has been updated with additional background information.

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